Coworkers' and Supervisor Interactional Justice: Correlates of Extension Personnel's Job Satisfaction, Distress, and Aggressive Behavior

By Ladebo, Olugbenga J.; Awotunde, Joseph M. et al. | Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Coworkers' and Supervisor Interactional Justice: Correlates of Extension Personnel's Job Satisfaction, Distress, and Aggressive Behavior


Ladebo, Olugbenga J., Awotunde, Joseph M., AbdulSalaam-Saghir, Petra, Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management


ABSTRACT

This paper examined the effects of coworkers and supervisor interactional fairness on employees' job satisfaction, distress, and aggressive behavior. Surveys were employed to elicit data from 270 extension personnel from two Agricultural Development Programs in Nigeria. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that fairness from both supervisors and coworkers were negatively related to job distress and aggressive behaviors and employees would respond with dissatisfaction to unfair treatments from their supervisors. The implications of findings are discussed.

Introduction

The literature on employee-employer relations shows that an employee expects the organization to treat him/her with respect, dignity, honesty and to extend equal treatment to all members (Janssens, Sels, & Van den Brande, 2003; Kickul & Liao Troth, 2003). Bies and Moag (1986) referred to this notion as interactional justice, which is the perception of the quality of treatment an employee receives when policies and procedures are implemented in the workplace.

The assessment of organizational practices and behavior of authority figures in terms of fairness does not usually depend on how fairly the employee was actually treated, but rather on how fairly the employee perceives that s/he was treated (Greenberg, 1990). Perceptions of interactional justice play a role in the determination of employees' work attitudes and behavior (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001; Colquitt, Conlon, Wesson, Porter, & Yee Ng, 2001).

Researchers have suggested that organizations should focus not only on formal procedures and outcomes, but also on perceived unfair treatment by managers and coworkers (Barling & Phillips, 1993; Coyle-Shapiro, Kessler, & Purcell, 2004). Most research efforts on interactional justice assumed that the construct was unidimensional without specifying the sources of the unfair treatments, or that the supervisors were assumed to solely be responsible for the unfairness in the workplace (e.g. Colquitt, 2001; Murphy et al., 2003).

Thus, unfair treatment at work has been largely measured without distinguishing between supervisor and coworker unfair treatment. This notion is contrary to studies on social exchange relationships, which indicates that an employee is always in regular exchange relations with the supervisor and coworkers (Brandes, Dharwadkar, & Wheatley, 2004; Vandenberghe, Bentein, & Stinglhamber, 2004).

This paper therefore examined the effects of unfairness by the supervisors and coworkers on employees' attitudinal and behavioral outcomes among agricultural extension workers. The choice of sample was premised on the need for additional data on unfair treatments from employees in different industries and organizations especially, from a developing nation such as Nigeria (Donovan, Drasgow, & Munson, 1998).

Conceptual Analysis and Hypotheses

Interactional Justice

Interactional justice concerns the individual's perception of the quality of treatment experienced when organizational procedures are implemented (Bies & Moag, 1986). Empirical evidence suggests that employees show much concern for the treatment they receive from authority figure and the adequacy with which formal decision making procedures are explained (Bies, Shapiro, & Cummings, 1988). Perceptions of interactional justice are important over time and are unaffected by the individual's self-interest.

The explanation for interactional justice in the workplace is grounded in social exchange theory and norm of reciprocity (Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005). From the social exchange perspective, employees expect fair, honest, courteous, and truthful treatments from the organization and/or its agents. Based on the norm of reciprocity, employees who perceive fair treatments by authorities are more likely to evidence positive actions through greater commitments to the values and goals of the organizations; exhibit increased job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behaviors, improved job performances and reduced withdrawal behaviors (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001; Colquitt et al. …

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